Native to the tropics and subtropics, this rich fruit is known for its lush,
buttery texture and mild, faintly nutlike flavor. Florida was the site of the
first U.S. avocado trees in the 1830s but almost 80 percent of today's crop
comes from California. Known early on as alligator pear, the many varieties of
today's avocado can range from round to pear-shaped. The skin can be thick to
thin, green to purplish black and smooth to corrugated. The flesh is generally a
pale yellow-green and softly succulent. The two most widely marketed avocado
varieties are the pebbly textured, almost black Hass and the green Fuerte, which
has a thin, smooth skin. Depending on the variety, an avocado can weigh as
little as 3 ounces and as much as 4 pounds.
Ripe avocados yield to gentle palm pressure, but firm, unripe avocados are what
are usually found in the market. Select those that are unblemished and heavy for
their size. To speed the ripening process, place several avocados in a paper bag
and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 4 days. Ripe avocados can be stored
in the refrigerator several days. Once avocado flesh is cut and exposed to the
air it tends to discolor rapidly.
2 T. butter
1 roasted red pepper, peeled, seeded and halved
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
2 large eggs
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 T. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 T. sour cream
1 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place one tablespoon butter in each ramekin, place in
oven and melt butter. Coat ramekins with melted butter.
Put a roasted red pepper half at the bottom of each ramekin and top with diced
avocado. Carefully break an egg in each ramekin and season with salt and pepper.
Top each ramekin with one tablespoon cheese. Return ramekins to oven and bake 15
minutes or until eggs have set to desired firmness. Dollop each with sour cream
and sprinkle with cilantro.